by Katherine (Erin) Harris
1995-2011 Katherine Anne Harris.
All rights reserved.




A highly theatrical PoMo romp through the Trojan War, Helen! features history's most famous Trophy Wife and those close to her, both mortal and divine. While playful, the script explores major physical and metaphysical forces - love, lust, ambition, greed, war, choices, guilt, blame, sacrifice - and what it's like to be a pretty woman with a brain.

This show requires only minimal staging, but can of course be mounted as lavishly as you like. Planned for multiple casting of all roles except five leads, it can be done with 25 actors.

The complete script and song lyrics are presented at this site. Please respect the author's copyright and e-mail if interested in production.

Kindly refrain from reading here if strong language offends you. There isn't a lot of this, but do be warned.

The Setting

ACTS ONE and TWO take place at the palace of Sparta (mostly suggested by columns standing about, but with one raised platform upstage left and a wide staircase up center) -- and simultaneously on Mount Olympus, represented by a theologeion or loft high upstage right for use by the Gods. It's linked to lower set by whatever means you'd like: ladder, firepole, ropes, slide. Below, the palace's megaron (great hall) has thrones, a sideboard, an upstage entrance to interior of palace and an outside entrance downstage (showing "Queen Leda Is In" flag in Act One and "Queen Leda Is Out; Princess Helen Presiding" flag in Act Two). Upstairs is Helen's room, a Barbie World furnished with pink bed, armoire and vanity; from bedposts hang laurel crowns (school souvenirs). Also upstairs, an upstage entrance leads to palace interior.

PROLOGUE and CHORAL INTERLUDES following first two Acts are played on apron with minimal sets (e.g., a potted tree; a dais with microphone). (NOTE: INTERLUDES played outside curtain allow action to continue without set change intermissions, enabling breaks to be scheduled only when desired.

ACTS THREE and FOUR take place at the palace of Troy (little different from Sparta's and with same upstairs platform, here used at center). On apron is a progressively expanding Argive encampment. Theologeion remains in prior location. Detailed descriptions precede specific Acts and Scenes.

CHORAL INTERLUDES, played on apron after these two Acts, require no additional staging.

ACT FIVE takes place at the palace of Sparta, again with theologeion in place above. "Queen Helen Is In" flag appears near downstage entrance.

CHORAL INTERLUDE at Rhodes and EPILOGUE require no additional staging apart from tree on apron and black support to suspend "Helen" in midair.


The Characters

(All play multiple roles except Helen, Aphrodite, Zeus, Hera and Athena, so the cast -- which appears immense -- is merely large.)

HELEN: Young beautiful woman. Think California Blonde but to die for.
APHRODITE: "Love Goddess." Beautiful at any age, and cagey. Think Bernadette Peters with a brain.
ZEUS: Middle-aged Supreme God. Think "Godfather."
HERA: Wife of Supreme God. Think aging J.A.P.
ATHENA: Martial sort of Goddess; 20'-30's.
GREEK CHORUS, in order of first line spoken. Suggested casting of multiple roles as follows (major roles italicized):
MALE 1: Tough, 20's-30's. DIOMEDES; SPARTAN SLAVE; AGAMEMNON; and DEIPHOBOS(villains); a MYRMIDON; AJAX; GUEST.
MALE 2: 20's-30's. MENELAUS; EPEIOS; TROJAN.
MALE 3: 40+. TYNDAREUS; ANNOUNCER; PRIAM; NESTOR;a MYRMIDON; GUEST; HOMER.
MALE 4: Handsome, 20's-30's. NIREUS; PARIS (romantic lead); PATROKLUS; AENEAS; PRESS REP; ORESTES; GUEST.
MALE 5: 20-30's. SUITOR; POLLUX-KASTOR Twins; SPARTAN SLAVE; HAROLD the Herald; a MYRMIDON; POLITES; PRESS REP; GUEST.
MALE 6: 20-30's. IDOMENEUS; PRESS REP; HEKTOR; SPARTAN SLAVE; POSTMAN; War God ARES; AKHILLES, NEOPTOLEMUS; NASTES.
MALE 7: Handsome, 20's-30's. ANTILOCHUS; PRESS REP; SPARTAN SLAVE; GANYMEDE; APOLLO; TEUCER; TROJAN; a MYRMIDON.
MALE 8: 20-30's. ODYSSEUS (with aging makeup) and son TELEMACHUS; SPARTAN SLAVE; a MYRMIDON.
MALE 9: Boy, 8-10. "Love God" EROS; Helen's son BYNOMOS; BOY.
FEMALE 1: 40+. LEDA and HEKUBA (moms of Helen and Paris); PRIESTESS.
FEMALE 2: Any age. MAIN SPARTAN SLAVE; NEMESIS (Goddess of Fate); TROJAN WOMAN; TROJAN/ARGIVE SLAVE; Delphi Oracle Reporter.
FEMALE 3: 20's. Divine Messenger IRIS; SPARTAN GIRL 1; SPARTAN SLAVE;1/2 OF HORSE "XANTHUS;" TROJAN; PRIESTESS; PROTESTOR.
FEMALE 4: Cute, 20's-30's. MAKEUP SLAVE (nonspeaking); GRACE 1 (of 3); FAUX-HELEN 1 (of 3);TROJAN; ARGIVE SLAVE GIRL; FURY.
FEMALE 5: Cute, 20's-30's. HAIR SLAVE (nonspeaking); GRACE 2 (of 3); FAUX-HELEN 2 (of 3);TROJAN; ARGIVE SLAVE GIRL; FURY.
FEMALE 6: Cute, 20's-30's. COSTUME SLAVE (nonspeaking); GRACE 3 (of 3); FAUX-HELEN 3 (of 3);TROJAN; ARGIVE SLAVE GIRL; FURY.
FEMALE 7: Pretty teen. HEBE (nonspeaking); SPARTAN GIRL 2; SPARTAN SLAVE; PRIZE WOMAN; 1/2 OF HORSE "XANTHUS;" TROJAN WOMAN/SLAVE; CHRISSY; Helen's daughter HERMIONE; SCRIBE.
FEMALE 8: 20's-30's. PERSEPHONE (nonspeaking); SPARTAN GIRL 3; SPARTAN SLAVE; KLYTEMNESTRA; KASSANDRA; PROTESTOR; GUEST.
FEMALES 9-11: MUSES, 3 to max. 9 (nice if musicians); only in musical scenes except as PROTESTORS and GUESTS. Can also be used in crowds.


The Songs

ACT ONE

One Way or Another, Love Ruins Us All .......(APHRODITE, ZEUS, HERA, ATHENA)
An Advantage or Two ....................(HELEN, APHRODITE, ZEUS, HERA, SUITORS)
Trophy Wife............................................................(HELEN, SUITORS, MUSES)


ACT TWO

Vanishing into Thin Air..................................................(HELEN, FAUX-HELENS)
Argive Hospitality Time...........(HELEN, PARIS, MENELAUS, APHRODITE, SLAVES)
Only Gods Can Be Causes..........................................................(HELEN, PARIS)


ACT THREE

Ares' March.......................................................................(TROJAN CHORUS)
Rap Sequence...............................................................(HELEN, FAUX-HELENS)
The End of My Rainbow Is You.....................(HELEN, PARIS, BYNOMOS their son)


ACT FOUR

Nine Years at Camp Troy .........(ARGIVES, TROJANS, SLAVE GIRLS, ZEUS, HERA, AGAMEMNON, ODYSSEUS, FAUX-HELENS)
What Do They Cry when They Cry 'Helen'?............................................(HELEN)
A Husband Perfect as Mine.....................(HELEN, APHRODITE, GRACES, MUSES)
Tonight's Our Night.........................................(TROJAN ROYALS AND CHORUS)


ACT FIVE

Only Gods Can Be Causes (Reprise).........(HERMIONE, HELEN, MENELAUS, GODS)
Odyssey Blues...........................(HELEN, MENELAUS, HERMIONE, TELEMACHUS)
Never Pass on Passion.........................................................(GODS IN CHORUS)



House lights are flashing and the first curtain is about to rise.
Click Act I to get on with the show.

Curtain's rising!